Eight years ago, in a "carpe diem" sort of moment, Kim and I went to the very first Chicago Fire soccer game at Soldier Field. (The real Soldier Field, not that thing by the lake that's there now.) That night changed my life -- I was so inspired by the Fire goalie, Zach Thornton, that I decided now was the time to get in shape -- and soccer was the way to do it.
That was the summer of the World Cup in France, and I even used it to quit smoking -- for one very long weekend in June (the 19th-20th-21st to be exact), I locked myself in our one-room apartment in Berwyn with videotape after videotape of Spanish-language games, vowing not to leave until I got all the nicotene out of my system. We didn't have cable, so tapes off of Univision and Telemundo were all I had -- hour after hour I watched the best football players in the world do battle, and with each passing match my body rid itself of more and more toxins. By the end of the weekend I wasn't cured, but I was well on my way to a new life. (Ironically, I even learned a bit of Spanish along the way ...)
Kim and I played that whole summer, and attended every single Fire game, and eventually I took up running to make myself a better player. Each day we became more healthy, and more happy, until by the next spring I was actually running in my first race! Through all the craziness, all the changes that happened during that time, we stayed the course to become the people we are today, a far cry from the people we once were.
I also made myself a promise: if Germany were ever awarded the World Cup, we would do our utmost to get there. When it was announced a few years ago, I was psyched -- it may not have been the most political of choices, but by god, Deutschland was getting the World Cup! And we were going!
Tickets were awarded by lottery, and I bid on the cities we most wanted to visit. We eventually got in, our trip is planned and booked, and we finally got the match tickets yesterday!
Leipzig isn't the garden spot of the country, and the match is Iran vs. Angola (we're going to dress as Canadians that day) -- but we're there for the atmosphere, and to see the country of Kim's ancestors. We're spending several days in Berlin, a few in Heidelberg, Innsbruck and Salzburg (Austria), and a couple in Munich before coming home after two weeks. No bikes, no daily plan, just a general idea of everything we want to see in these beautiful cities ...
In the meantime, Kim has picked up some basic German language tapes, and we've been listening to them in the car. I'm still good with most of the vocabulary (after 10 years of study in high school and college), so I'm having more fun making stuff up, and messing with Kim as she tries to learn. That's why the title of this blog is "the train is in the shower" -- it sounded better than "the young lady is on the tracks!"
ONLY 227 DAYS TO NATZ!!